Brave New World: Smart Materials Will Define The Physical Future.

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After millions of years of tinkering and refining, Nature has developed some pretty spectacular systems and processes by which we’re able to coexist and flourish. Now, humans are using biomimicry to innovate the world of material design, programming wood, textiles, carbon and more with the ability to self-transform, giving us control over how those materials are composed and the way they behave. That chair you ordered from Ikea will assemble itself once you open the box, your car tires will automatically change composition in response to certain driving conditions, and so on.

“We’re in the first phase, beginning the second phase, and just scratching the surface of the third phase,” says Skylar Tibbets, director of MIT’s Self Assembly Laboratory. “I think we’ll one day be able to make things as complex as nature.” Tibbets was an early beta user of Project Cyborg, an awesomely named R&D project by the design software firm Autodesk, which hopes to release it to a wider audience sometime this year. The software is aimed to help people—anyone from synthetic biologists to furniture designers—in their quest to “program matter.” —Fast Company

In this TED talk Tibbets describes a world in which 4-D printing and smart materials will define the physical world of the future, opening up endless possibilities for user interaction and methods of assembly across a broad range of industries (furniture, architecture, products, automotive, etc…), and transforming manufacturing as we know it.



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